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Old 06-02-2008, 01:13 PM   #43
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is there a service like carfax that does trailers?
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Old 06-02-2008, 03:49 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by juel
For what this is worth, I bought a 58 AS that the PO couldn't find a title for. I got a Bill of Sale (notarized) from him stating where he got the trailer and when, took it to the Oklahoma DMV, got the necessary forms from them, they sent the forms in for me, got more forms back for the title, the DMV worker came to the house to verify the VIN #, sent her verification in and got a clear Oklahoma title in about 2 weeks total. Some states won't even take a title to register a vintage trailer. Seems like Texas may be making this harder than most states.
Not sure about Oklahoma, but in Texas if you have a PO who has lost the title you should request that he apply for a duplicate title. Stop the transaction right there. It's easy for an owner who has lost the title to get a new one. No need for a bill of sale.

If course this assumes the PO had a title to begin with. If the PO never had a title then the burden of proof, so to speak, shifts legally speaking to the new purchaser to establish a clear chain of title. And this can be difficult to establish as we have been discussing.
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Old 06-02-2008, 04:04 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by utee94
Chances are, it's just a 50-year-old trailer and somebody lost the title at some point. Heck, my boat is a mere 15 years old and I have no idea where the title is. Of course, if I wanted to sell it, I'd probably just apply for the state to re-issue the title, since I'm the only owner of record this boat has ever had...
That's exactly what you should do. Apply for a duplicate title. You might issue a bill of sale only if you had a buyer naive and willing to accept one! The point is don't be that buyer. If you do decide to take a bill of sale be prepared to prove why that PO can't provide a title. If you're the new purchaser you would be very wise to demand a duplicate title and a proper transfer of title.

Keep in mind the law seems to be viewing these vehicle titles very much like real estate deeds. And for very good reasons. Obviously there is a good bit of fraud happening in the world of vehicles. We're talking about vehicles and trailers that were issued titles and serial numbers from the factory. And these laws are making it difficult to obtain a new title if you're not the titled owner or to retitle if you have a salvage. It can be done but you'll need to follow the procedures outlined above and spend some time making friends with the tax assessor collector in your jurisdiction.
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Old 06-04-2008, 08:58 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by monocoque
Technically speaking, you could probably do the deal because, as you have suggested, the trailer is under 4,000 pounds which is probably why the tax assessor clerk asked you that question.

On the other hand, the Transporation Code specifically states: "the owner of a motor vehicle registered in this state may not operate or permit the operation of the vehicle on a public highway until the owner obtains a certificate of title."

So a certificate of title is required for motor vehicles. What then is a motor vehicle under the law?

The transportation code defines a motor vehicle, among other descriptions, as: "a trailer or semitrailer, other than manufactured housing, that has a gross weight that exceeds 4,000 pounds."

So it would seem that trailers in excess of 4,000 pounds are required by law to have certificates of titles and those less than 4,000 pounds need only be registered or licensed.
I pulled this quote over from my other thread because I think the data is relevant for anyone seeking Airstream titles in Texas.

It seems that the older legacy trailers, and perhaps some of the smaller and slightly newer legacy trailers, MIGHT not need to be titled in Texas in order to obtain registration, if they are under 4,000 lbs (and the 1958 Overlander that I am considering is indeed under 4,000 lbs). This is what the clerk at the Travis County tax assessor/collector told me, and it corresponds to the research that Todd (monocoque) has performed.

Just a bit more information to add to this most excellent discussion.

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Old 06-04-2008, 12:43 PM   #47
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trailers, "travel" trailers & house trailers

In some situations a clerk might not require an application for a title and therefore you might need only a license and registration. However, that's a lot of mights to depend upon. As has been mentioned in the previous discussion it would be prudent to visit the tax assessor and discuss this matter in advance of any purchase.

Section 501.022 of the Transportation Code requires certificates of title for all motor vehicles. Section 501.002, the definitions section, defines motor vehicle, in part, as a trailer or semitrailer that has a gross vehicle weight that exceeds 4,000 pounds.

Trailer is defined in the statute as a vehicle that: (a) is designed or used to carry a load wholly on the trailer's own structure; and (b) is drawn or designed to be drawn by a motor vehicle. That sounds like it might include travel trailer but unfortunately it's not very specific. Also, fortunately or unfortunately, a travel trailer, per se, is not included in the legal definitions.

However, the statute does include "house trailer" within the definition of a motor vehicle. Further, "house trailer" means a trailer designed for human habitation. Maybe you're already thinking that "house trailer" means manufactured housing. But you would be wrong. The statute specifically says the term "house trailer" does not include manufactured housing.

So it would seem that IF Airstream "travel trailers" are "house trailers" then they are "motor vehicles" in Texas and therefore must have certificates of title in order to be operated on public streets even if the gross vehicle weight does not exceed 4,000 pounds.

§ 501.022. CERTIFICATE OF TITLE REQUIRED.
(a) The owner of a motor vehicle registered in this state may not operate or permit the operation of the vehicle on a public highway until the
owner obtains a certificate of title for the vehicle or until the owner obtains registration for the vehicle if a receipt evidencing title to the vehicle is issued under Section 501.029(b).
(b) A person may not operate a motor vehicle registered in this state on a public highway if the person knows or has reason to believe that the owner has not obtained a certificate of title for the vehicle.
(c) The owner of a motor vehicle that is required to be registered in this state must apply for a certificate of title of the vehicle before selling or disposing of the vehicle.
(d) Subsection (c) does not apply to a motor vehicle operated on a public highway in this state with a metal dealer's license plate or a dealer's or buyer's temporary cardboard tag attached to the vehicle as provided by Chapter 503.


§ 501.002. DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:

(14) "Motor vehicle" means:
(A) any motor driven or propelled vehicle required to be registered under the laws of this state;
(B) a trailer or semitrailer, other than manufactured housing, that has a gross vehicle weight that exceeds 4,000 pounds;
(C) a house trailer;
(D) an all-terrain vehicle, as defined by Section 502.001, designed by the manufacturer for off-highway use that is not required to be registered under the laws of this state; or
(E) a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or moped that is not required to be registered under the laws of this state, other than a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or moped designed for and used exclusively on a golf course.
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Old 06-04-2008, 01:01 PM   #48
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More excellent research, thanks Todd. Are you an attorney?

What gets even more confusing is that on some of the forms for registration in Texas, there are distinctions made between travel trailers and "park models," neither of which fall under the classification for "manufactured homes." In most cases I believe the TT and Park Model were treated the same, but there might have been one or two differences.

Anyway, just more food for thought, as if it weren't already confusing enough...


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Old 06-04-2008, 01:22 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by utee94 View Post
More excellent research, thanks Todd. Are you an attorney?

What gets even more confusing is that on some of the forms for registration in Texas, there are distinctions made between travel trailers and "park models," neither of which fall under the classification for "manufactured homes." In most cases I believe the TT and Park Model were treated the same, but there might have been one or two differences.

Anyway, just more food for thought, as if it weren't already confusing enough...


-Marcus
What forms are you referring to? If you give me the name of the form I'll take a look. Probably the form is merely being used to gather information for the decisionmaker and doesn't necessarly represent a legal pigeon hole. But I don't find the terms "park model" or "travel trailer" in the statute itself.

Caveat: it's probably a good idea to note that none of the above is being offered as legal advise. For obvious reasons title certificates, tax assessments, and vehicle registration issues should be handled by a retained attorney.
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Old 06-04-2008, 03:21 PM   #50
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bills of sale without certificate of title

I hadn't noticed this before but if one pays particular attention to section 501.022 of the Transportation Code, see post number 47 above, you'll notice in section (c) that owners of vehicles as defined by the code must apply for a certificate of title before selling or disposing of the them!

Now that section seems to expressly state that sellers of "travel" trailers who are selling on a bill of sale only are acting contrary to that provision of the law! This is something purchasers might want to mention to sellers who are attempting to negotiate sales without a certificate of title.

section (c) "The owner of a motor vehicle that is required to be registered in this state must apply for a certificate of title of the vehicle before selling or disposing of the vehicle."
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Old 06-04-2008, 04:09 PM   #51
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The trailer I was buying was originally titled in California many, many years ago. After corresponding with the State of California for several weeks, it became obvious there would never be a duplicate title issued by that state. You almost had to have the original to get them to issue a duplicate! After reams of paperwork and no title, we decided to contact the Oklahoma DMV for help. This trailer had been in Oklahoma for a while. We did what Oklahoma wanted and got a clear title. So far no one has come looking for the 58 AS. If getting one of these trailers registered in Texas is that difficult, I think I'd just let it pass and wait for a seller with title in hand. Having just bought a trailer in Michigan, I was shocked to find that Oklahoma is the only state still requiring a signature be notarized on a transfer of title. Michigan doesn't care who you are as long as you sign the right name to the title. Anyone could sign it. I found that strange, but my DMV said it's the norm now. Here in Oklahoma the DMV has to see the trailer and inspect the VIN#, in Michigan, you just sign the title and take it in to get the transfer. In actuality, I don't know for sure the guy I bought my trailer from is the actual owner or just found the title in a trailer he stole. No identification is necessary up there. Hey, I'm just camping and having fun now. I'm no longer studying the statues or trying to pass the bar to get a trailer registered.
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Old 06-04-2008, 04:33 PM   #52
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After reams of paperwork and no title, we decided to contact the Oklahoma DMV for help. This trailer had been in Oklahoma for a while. We did what Oklahoma wanted and got a clear title.
As mentioned above in my opinion going to the local tax assessor is not only a smart move but a necessary step in solving the certificate of title issue no matter what is your jurisdiction. Of course each county will have different clerks and even different clerks in the same county.

Remember these folks aren't attorneys (thank goodness) and at the best they are only fact collectors and are only filling out forms. On the other hand these clerks, bless them, process lots of titles so usually they'll be more familiar than most folks including lawyers about how to do what. If you're real nice they might even help ya! That doesn't mean they will untie your fishing line knots but they can probably point you in the right direction.

Someone earlier posted suggesting clerk-shopping until you find the one who is willing to listen and help resolve the issue. You might even nicely request a supervisor with more experience depending on the situation.

At least in Texas the point seems to be that these trailers do carry certificates of title. And at least our present understanding is that without a certificate of title you're going to have a difficult time getting another one unless you're the person who was issued the original title.

I'm curious what did Oklahoma require you to do to get a clear title?
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Old 06-04-2008, 05:24 PM   #53
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What forms are you referring to? If you give me the name of the form I'll take a look. Probably the form is merely being used to gather information for the decisionmaker and doesn't necessarly represent a legal pigeon hole. But I don't find the terms "park model" or "travel trailer" in the statute itself.

Caveat: it's probably a good idea to note that none of the above is being offered as legal advise. For obvious reasons title certificates, tax assessments, and vehicle registration issues should be handled by a retained attorney.
Well, the forms are back at the house and I'm currently at the office, but let's see what a quick web search can determine...

Here's at least one of them, it's a travel trailer verification form VTR-141 that I was told would need to be completed along with the 130U.

http://www.dot.state.tx.us/txdotefor...vletConfig.xml

The TXDOT web page with links to many of the major title/registration pages is here:

Vehicle Titles and Registration Forms


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Old 06-04-2008, 06:04 PM   #54
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You might try contacting Broadway title (easy to find on internet search).. I have used them on old cars with title problems and had good results.. Joe
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Old 06-04-2008, 07:22 PM   #55
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Let me tell you my story. I had a 59 Airstream that I got from my Grandfather in Indiana. We live in Texas. I happen to know the ladies down at the sub court house.
They guided me right through to get the title registered in Texas. So go down to the local registration office ask if they have a lady that knows about RV titles. Tell her you have an old AIRSTREAM that you need to title. I am sure that a fellow Texan will help you get it done . Even SOB know the value of an old Airstream. Just my two cents.
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Old 06-04-2008, 07:54 PM   #56
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Let me tell you my story. I had a 59 Airstream that I got from my Grandfather in Indiana. We live in Texas. I happen to know the ladies down at the sub court house.
They guided me right through to get the title registered in Texas. So go down to the local registration office ask if they have a lady that knows about RV titles. Tell her you have an old AIRSTREAM that you need to title. I am sure that a fellow Texan will help you get it done . Even SOB know the value of an old Airstream. Just my two cents.
Kinda my original advice. Just be honest with them and you cannot go wrong. Git 'r done!
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